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Back (in Time): Sound Advice

First published 24th November 2019

Don’t give up ‘Cause you have friends Don’t give up You’re not beaten yet Don’t give up I know you can make it good

(Peter Gabriel)

So I arrived back in Uppingham last night and Danny (Rocky Road Music) came round to look at the recording equipment that I had set up in our spare bedroom. It seemed I need to whack up the microphone volume (not as far as Spinal Tap’s “11”). So it is a change of plans now. What we have recorded so far needs to be re-done. I say we, but really I mean Rachel – I’ve just been splicing it all together. So it hasn’t been a waste of time, it’s been a learning process. We definitely need a ‘master copy’ that is technically good before we start any editing otherwise we risk failing the ACX audio submission process (ACX are the Amazon owned company that are the route to getting an audio book on Amazon and iTunes). I also think it’s a bit risky trying to record part of the book now, and part after we get back from Australia in case the sound quality does not match up. So plan B is to put the audio to one side and whilst in Australia I will concentrate on getting the final draft of the book ready. Rachel has used up half a pencil correcting my punctuation and mistakes on the print out. It’s funny how you don’t see them on screen, especially when you have written it yourself and know how it is supposed to sound.

Speaking of sound, before I leave the subject, I realise how little I know about it. It never featured in my Physics lessons at school so I don’t know anything about the science of it. I only learned for instance through this process that sound is calculated in minus numbers, getting louder up to ‘0’ then in plus numbers – but we don’t go there. I think I am not allowed to go above -3. So when you see record producers in front of enormous mixing desks twiddling knobs and sliding controls, not only can they hear qualities my ears are uneducated to hear, but they also know how to make it sound better!

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